Hungary: President asks constitutional court to review changes to central bank law

President Janos Ader has requested the Constitutional Court for a review of a recently adopted bill that curbs public access to financial data of companies owned by the central bank. Ader said the changes to the central bank law are not compatible with the constitutional provisions on the handling of public finances and on information of public interest. The retroactive effect of the changes was probably also in breach of constitutional principles, according to Ader. The court now has 30 days to issue a ruling.

The amendments, pushed through by ruling Fidesz party, were adopted by the parliament last week. The bill gives the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) the power to withhold information on its business units if it decides that disclosure may harm the monetary or foreign exchange policy. The bill allows the data to be classified for up to 10 years.

The NBH allocated HUF 245bn to six foundations it established in 2014. The amended bill stipulates that these foundations are now fully controlled by their curators and therefore their assets no longer qualified as public.

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